Thursday, April 8, 2010

On the curb

This is one of Jon's photos from the blog's March trip to New York City. Any Philadelphian knows what a curbstone is, but the blog was unfamiliar with the term "curbstone brokers." The phrase was first used in Manhattan in the 1830s to refer to brokers who traded stocks on the street. Curbstone brokers often specialized in stocks of small or new companies, and traded using an elaborate system of hand gestures that enabled them to reliably transmit information from window to the street. The historic reference to outdoor trading persisted on Wall Street until 1953 (long after the action had moved indoors), when the New York Curb Exchange changed its name to the American Stock Exchange.

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